WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden pledged in his inaugural address to level with the American people — and the message from his first three days in office has been nothing if not grim and grimmer.

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He has painted a bleak picture of the country’s immediate future dealing with the coronavirus, warning Americans that it will take months, not weeks, to reorient a nation facing a historic convergence of crises.

The dire language is meant as a call to action, but it is also a deliberate effort to temper expectations.

Allies also see the telltale signs of a proven political strategy: underpromise and overdeliver.

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